Heartbroken Avon Lake mother has warning for other parents

Heartbroken Avon Lake mother has warning for other parents

AVON LAKE, OH (WOIO) - The heroin epidemic in northeast Ohio is taking lives and destroying families. Some parents have tried to help their kids, but the power of drugs is too much. We spoke with one mother about her heartbreak and search for closure.

Jimmy was the son every mother hopes to have.

"Jimmy was a really good kid. He never mouthed me. You told him to do something, he did it. He was respectful," says Rebecca Deaton.

Jimmy, whose last name we are not using at his mother's request, excelled in school. He was artistic and was even a self taught bassist. He played in a high school band called, For Future Reference.

"Played at the Agora. He was very, very talented," added Deaton.

But around ninth grade something changed, and it changed fast.

"Defiant. Skipping school. Bad grades. Coming home, eyes dilated. There was a lot of signs that were going on," said Deaton.

Deaton says her son was never the same.

It's been a year and a half since Deaton's seen her son.
"This is the second time. The first time he went missing, we didn't know if he was dead or alive at all. We had no contact at all. So he does this. We have no way of contacting him. He knows how to contact us, and he chooses not to."

Deaton is convinced high school was the place where Jimmy started hanging out with the wrong crowd. 

She did the drug testing available through the anti-drug program Avon Lake High School has in place, but that strategy didn't work.

"He was passing all of his drug tests, which was great, until he ran away again, and we found that he was using a bottle of urine he had probably purchased from someone with clean urine, and he was using that to pass his drug test."

Deaton, unfortunately, has plenty of company when it comes to parents with children that are addicted to drugs, especially heroin. It's not just a
problem at Avon Lake High School.

"Jimmy and my daughter, Hanna, have both lost numerous classmates in the last five years from this. It's very sad. I think it's bigger than people want to believe or what they are putting out there for us to hear," said Deaton.

Avon Lake High School, where Jimmy was a student, is one of eight schools that has partnered with Lorain County Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services to help eliminate the drug problem. They can even supply drug test kits for parents. 

Heroin seems to be the biggest problem now.

"Heroin, right now, is cheaper and more potent than it's ever been, which is why we are seeing this astronomical increase in overdose fatalities," said Joel Rechlin, who heads the educational component of LCADA.

Unfortunately, not everyone is receptive to help. Deaton says nothing seemed to help her son, Jimmy. 

She hopes one day he may get his life together. Until then, she can't help but think the worst.

"A wrong number happens here, my heart jumps. Every day it happens. Not a day goes by, I'm just waiting for that, and it's sad that that's what my life has become, and my husband's life has become that. We were just waiting."

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